Quantcast

Who is the greatest Japanese blacksmith of our time still producing knives.

Kitchen Knife Forums

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums:

Corradobrit1

Senior Member
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,319
Who’s the HK Maz dealer? I don’t know of them.
 

ModRQC

Kurouchi Down!
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
1,226
Reaction score
1,047
Location
QC, CA
According to local folklore, Kanji for “Jiro Nakagawa,” followed by the number “1” could be clearly read on his umbilical cord. Fact.
I heard the umbilical cord sold even before he was out the wombs...
 

RockyBasel

Supporting Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
922
Reaction score
1,086
Location
Switzerland
I got my first Shig kitaeji 2 weeks ago - looking forward to trying it and seeing what it’s all about

it was a 210, and no, not for $2100

For me, so far, it’s Toyama, Heiji, and Y Tanaka. Heiji SS is amazing and easy to use

have not tried Kato and Shig
 

Corradobrit1

Senior Member
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,319
I got my first Shig kitaeji 2 weeks ago - looking forward to trying it and seeing what it’s all about

it was a 210, and no, not for $2100

For me, so far, it’s Toyama, Heiji, and Y Tanaka. Heiji SS is amazing and easy to use

have not tried Kato and Shig
Wait until the TF Denka lands.
 

MarcelNL

Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2018
Messages
453
Reaction score
363
I now have several knives to choose from -nothing to claim base best blacksmith on- and still find myself picking up the Shig and enjoying working with it most. It's almost as if that knife has a sould the others are just knives. Think that the Hinoura is emptiest of em all. Of course sharpness and purpose is different across knives, the one coming closest to the Shig (a small 165mm Santoku) is the single bevel Suji project knife I recently got (maker unknown).
Looking forward to your experience with a Shig Rocky!
 

RockyBasel

Supporting Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
922
Reaction score
1,086
Location
Switzerland
Mazaki has sold out. As has Kurosaki.
I now have several knives to choose from -nothing to claim base best blacksmith on- and still find myself picking up the Shig and enjoying working with it most. It's almost as if that knife has a sould the others are just knives. Think that the Hinoura is emptiest of em all. Of course sharpness and purpose is different across knives, the one coming closest to the Shig (a small 165mm Santoku) is the single bevel Suji project knife I recently got (maker unknown).
Looking forward to your experience with a Shig Rocky!
Will share my experience - interesting how you use the word “soul” because some knives do have that “hard to describe” quality - I think soul is the best word. So Hinoura does not have soul - given the cult status and unicorn stature, makes me wonder why so - I am an it relieved as an expensive slipped my grasp only recently
 

RockyBasel

Supporting Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
922
Reaction score
1,086
Location
Switzerland
Wish you had not written that as it may well affect my decision what to buy ...a TF denka, a TF denka 150 anniversary or a shig...
Really validates Denka purchase

what is the 150 year anniversary Denka - don’t tell me I have to buy another one 😂😂😂
 

DitmasPork

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
2,115
Reaction score
2,010
Location
BROOKLYN, NY
In my quest to learn about Japanese knives, I have a question that will be controversial. However it could open up some discourse on what are good examples of Japanese blacksmithing. So here goes, "Which Japanese blacksmith still producing knives today will be considered the greatest of our time." To be more specific here is the criteria:

1. Must be producing knives as of 2020
2. Japanese
3. Must be based on their history not their potential (that could be for another tread)
4. Minimum 30 plus years of experience
5. Only judge their work on the blade itself and not the fit and finish on the handle
6. Limit comments to why a blacksmith is great and not why there are not.
7. Use only their best line of knives to speak to their skills. For example TF use Denkas where he has the most input into the creation of his blade.

I would like to see what people's short list are to learn and have a little fun. My apologies in advance to exclude non-japanese blacksmith. Perhaps we could do that for another thread region by region or world all-time tread. You can nominate more than one.
After carefully reconsidering the parameters set by the OP, I admittedly am not enough of a knife nerd to know which maker has been producing for at least 30 years. ‘Greatest,’ so incredibly subjective—how to quantify ‘greatness’ is the impossible challenge. That said, these J-knives that I’ve kept, are all made by makers I consider great in their own right—each for different reasons. Although, Jiro and Mazaki are relatively young in their careers, they have produced an impressive body of work—for me, longevity isn’t a requirement nor an entitlement to greatness—there’re knife makers who have been toiling away at their craft for over 30 years, whose knives have not gone beyond the mediocre.

Left to right: Mazaki, Kochi, Heiji, Watanabe, Y. Tanaka, Shigefusa, Jiro, Kato, TF.

E0045320-9FD3-470F-A386-42B656F9BE16.jpeg
 

AFKitchenknivesguy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
1,848
Reaction score
1,108
Location
Pennsylvania
After carefully reconsidering the parameters set by the OP, I admittedly am not enough of a knife nerd to know which maker has been producing for at least 30 years. ‘Greatest,’ so incredibly subjective—how to quantify ‘greatness’ is the impossible challenge. That said, these J-knives that I’ve kept, are all made by makers I consider great in their own right—each for different reasons. Although, Jiro and Mazaki are relatively young in their careers, they have produced an impressive body of work—for me, longevity isn’t a requirement nor an entitlement to greatness—there’re knife makers who have been toiling away at their craft for over 30 years, whose knives have not gone beyond the mediocre.

Left to right: Mazaki, Kochi, Heiji, Watanabe, Y. Tanaka, Shigefusa, Jiro, Kato, TF.

View attachment 95480
So true, such a subjective thing. Most people will give an answer for what they've owned, or want to own. Doubt anyone, including me, has at least one of every maker to remark intelligently on.
 

RockyBasel

Supporting Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
922
Reaction score
1,086
Location
Switzerland
After carefully reconsidering the parameters set by the OP, I admittedly am not enough of a knife nerd to know which maker has been producing for at least 30 years. ‘Greatest,’ so incredibly subjective—how to quantify ‘greatness’ is the impossible challenge. That said, these J-knives that I’ve kept, are all made by makers I consider great in their own right—each for different reasons. Although, Jiro and Mazaki are relatively young in their careers, they have produced an impressive body of work—for me, longevity isn’t a requirement nor an entitlement to greatness—there’re knife makers who have been toiling away at their craft for over 30 years, whose knives have not gone beyond the mediocre.

Left to right: Mazaki, Kochi, Heiji, Watanabe, Y. Tanaka, Shigefusa, Jiro, Kato, TF.

View attachment 95480
Quite a collection there - presume it’s yours. Agree with your assessment completely - you basically have my list - with the exception of Kochi - not familiar with Kochi and I don’t know who forged those knives
 

DitmasPork

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
2,115
Reaction score
2,010
Location
BROOKLYN, NY
So true, such a subjective thing. Most people will give an answer for what they've owned, or want to own. Doubt anyone, including me, has at least one of every maker to remark intelligently on.
Yeah, agree. A big part of the subjectivity depends on whatever strata of collecting one is in. For example, in my kitchen I've never owned or used a honyaki, or any knife that's over $1k in price—my opinions and observations purely limited to what I've used in the kitchen.
 

DitmasPork

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2012
Messages
2,115
Reaction score
2,010
Location
BROOKLYN, NY
Quite a collection there - presume it’s yours. Agree with your assessment completely - you basically have my list - with the exception of Kochi - not familiar with Kochi and I don’t know who forged those knives
Kochi is one of the undisputed 'great,' bang-for-buck gyutos! Some have said that they're made in the same workshop as Wakui, but to the specs from Jon Broida at JKI—but, that's hearsay, I don't know for a fact. For performance, Kochi is a great knife, punching way above it's weight in the performance category. It's both rustic and utilitarian, lacks the aesthetic artistry of Jiro et al, but a great cutter, well balanced, the kind of no frills performer happy to use often.
 

RockyBasel

Supporting Member
Joined
May 7, 2020
Messages
922
Reaction score
1,086
Location
Switzerland
Kochi is one of the undisputed 'great,' bang-for-buck gyutos! Some have said that they're made in the same workshop as Wakui, but to the specs from Jon Broida at JKI—but, that's hearsay, I don't know for a fact. For performance, Kochi is a great knife, punching way above it's weight in the performance category. It's both rustic and utilitarian, lacks the aesthetic artistry of Jiro et al, but a great cutter, well balanced, the kind of no frills performer happy to use often.
is it comparable to a Munetoshi?
 
Top